Monday Morning Stepback: Snowpocalypse edition!

The weekly links, opinion, and personal updates post


My sons, no longer content to share review space with their mother DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY CAME FROM MY WOMB started their own book review blog, ReadReactReviewJr. We’ve noticed that while there are loads of YA blogs and loads of mommy blogs that review kids books, there are few book blogs written by kids for kids. We’ll see how long they stick with it.


Also, I started a Facebook account for this blog (see right sidebar). So many people are on Facebook, pretty much all day long, that I think it may actually be easier for some to read this blog by clicking a FB link than to bookmark it or view it in their reader.

I notice that some people have a “do not attempt to friend this person unless you know her personally”, and I have no idea what that means. Does it mean, “if you are a spammer stay away”, or does it mean, “you had really better know her IRL?”. And if the latter, what does that even mean? If I met a romance author at a conference, do I count? I’ve just been sending out friend requests, figuring people won’t reply if they don’t want to friend me. But let me know what you think. I am a pretty amateur Facebooker.


For your daily dose of sexual liberation, check out Hello Mom. Merry Christmas. I Write Erotica, at the Harlequin blog, by Tiffany Reisz.


Net neutrality confuses me no longer, thanks to this truly idiot proof graphic (via @Techmeme)


A Harvard Business Review blog post, You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying, is a decent read, but it’s actually more interesting for watching an academic try to engage with aggressive seasoned internet commentators. I am not sure why commenters got so mad at the post author, Paul Atchley, Ph.D., an associate professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Kansas, but one of them actually looked up and criticized his publication record. Ouch.


In case you agree with Atchley, here’s the 99%’s 10 Online Tools for Better Attention and Focus.


Not new, but new to me: Like A Virgin, by Emily Maguire, in Australia’s The Monthly, concluding with this (via @bookthingo):

The ways in which virginity matters in the long-past-virginal adult world is altogether different. The silly, superstitious, dehumanising, backwardness of the virginity obsession would be funny if it didn’t so often result in pain, shame, oppression and exploitation. We know – don’t we? – that the porn hymens are fake, that sex with a virgin doesn’t cure AIDS, that no mystical change occurs in either man or woman when a penis enters a previously unpenetrated vagina. We know – don’t we? – that teenage girls have erotic lives that are entirely unconnected and unconcerned with the fantasies of middle-aged men; that a woman’s identity, sense of self and value as a human being cannot be instantly and irrevocably altered by a single sexual encounter. And we know – don’t we? – that virginity is a human invention, that we are the ones who invest it with meaning, even as we’re unable to accurately or consistently define it.


It’s fun to watch a smart and sympathetic semi-newbie to the genre try to make sense of it, and it’s also gratifying to see a leading lit blog discuss romance. See Ron Hogan do both here, in a post on Christmas romances.


At FWD (Feminists with Disabilities), seriously one of the best blogs out there, Blindness in Greek Myth:

Greek myth is characterised by myriad meanings and functions of blindness. Whether blindness is representing establishment or exercise of power dynamics, whether it appears as a metaphor, whether it is performing a variety of functions all at once or something else entirely, blindness is everywhere in Greek myth.


An interesting round up of discussions on whether to allow comments on blogs at Language Log. Perhaps my favorite point comes in the comments, and it is this:

When a narcissistic blowhard makes an ignorant comment on the Internet, there’s little or no cause to take note, so if a reaction ensues, it’s because there was a second fool willing to take the invitation.

Sometimes the best way to protect free speech is to shut up.


Loads of best of the year lists to peruse. So many great ideas. I am actually thinking of starting a new feature, Top Ten Tuesdays, where I review a random book chosen from a best of 2010 list. I was especially interested in this one by Maria Lokken at the B&N blog, and KMont’s 2010 roundup at Lurv a la Mode.


A pretty interesting video segment on book covers from CBS Sunday Morning, including some discussion of romance, chick lit, and the Twilight Saga, Larssen, and the impact of e-books (via Cover Cafe)


I am fresh out of these. Any ideas?


We’re bracing for the blizzard. I am reading and rereading a lot of Jenny Cruise, so expect nothing but Crusie posts this week, and maybe into the next.

For the folks that asked for it, I added an “I like this” button to the bottom of each post. We’ll see if it sticks. (Sorry the font is so small. Working on it.)


16 responses

  1. I’ve been enjoying the “Best of 2010” Posts, too, especially over at the BookSmugglers’.

    Thanks for the link to the article on online tools for better focus, etc, as well.


  2. I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books, The Season of the Witch — something like, “Virginity was invented by nasty old men so they’d have something to defile.”


  3. Regarding Facebook, I, too, am confused by the “do you know this person?”

    Facebook recommends “new friends” that my “current friends” know … but then this message pops up.

    Perhaps Facebook shouldn’t recommend them!

    I only use Facebook to promote new postings (and giveaways) to my blog. So it is no big deal if the recommended friend doesn’t know me!

    I now feel like my mother who once said she didn’t know anything computers as they began to rpelace typewriters! In fact, she still has her Selectric … she says I can sell it as an antique when she passes on.

    We are bracing for warm weather ….


  4. Your sons’ Blog is a great idea. My sons started a blog reviewing movies and books last year for their summer holiday, too. They kept it up for the holidays but once school started they stopped posting. You may have given me the impetus to get them started again ;)


  5. I like the net neutrality graphic and bookmarked it. Thanks for the link.

    I like “Best of 2010” lists as well, whether it be books or movies. I think you should do Top Ten Tuesday.


  6. You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying

    This came to me in an epiphany in 2002 when I was working at the most dysfunctional place in the universe–which I knew only because *I* was the NORMAL one.

    Anyhoo, I couldn’t figure out why everybody else could multitask, but I couldn’t. (Apparently, “tunnel vision” and/or “extreme focus” is not something interviewers want in an employee.) Then I realized that everyone around me was “multitasking” and screwing everything up, not just one thing, having to go back and re-do, and me chugging along at my one-at-a-time pace and doing it right the first time.

    I will never believe there is such a thing as multitasking (although I will buy that people can switch their focus faster than others).


  7. um, I haven’t read the article or anything, but aren’t there at least some circumstances where one sexual encounter could have a profound effect on a woman’s self worth, sexuality and sense of identity?


  8. @Jocelyn Z: I have really been enjoying the Book Smugglers’ best of lists too!

    @willaful: LOLOL!

    @Kim in Hawaii: I am now in Facebook jail! They said I had to wait two days before trying to friend anyone else. I figured if I share 30 friends with someone, they are a legit person to friend, but I guess not. : O

    @Vassiliki: Yeah, it’s probably a vacation thing. But they are having fun with it. We might be able to keep it going if we can round up some of their friends to contribute.

    @Vi: I may not be able to do it every week, but I do think I will try to read from Top 10 lists for a while.

    @Shiloh Walker: Ungrateful children.

    @Moriah Jovan: The article says to spend 18 uninterrupted minutes on a task before switching to another one. I am going to try that.

    @Kaetrin: Good point. I think yes, for sure. I find it very believable when it happens in romance novels, and it seem to happen as often to men as to women in those cases.

    I guess the author was saying that the specific sexual encounter in which virginity is “lost” should not be fetishized or have the huge social significance it does.


  9. I like your sons new review site. Can’t wait to see what they review next.

    Found the erotica author’s take interesting. I *almost* think there’s less stigma to writing erotica vs. romance at least when I’ve done an informal survey amongst my community.

    Net neutrality: it’s a good graphic even though it’s only covering part of the issues involved. But I do think that’s one of the best visual aids that I’ve seen done to encapsulate the issue.

    I can only multi-task on the ‘doesn’t require much conscious thought’ tasks. I used to do cleaning at 15 minute intervals with a timer before moving on to the next time cleaning task. Got that one from the Fly Ladies and I must say it does work and helps to keep the “overwhelmed” feeling at bay. Cuz ya can do anything for 15 minutes, right? (well, almost anything I suppose).

    Nice Like a Virgin article. Someday I’d like to track virginity in romance novels because I wonder what is actually being “said” vs. what is being “received” and where writer skill, culture and “social conditioning” vs. genre expectations intersect.

    Didn’t have time to go through the rest except to glance at Kmont’s list. I do so love lists.


  10. RRRjr! What boys!

    I look forward to the Cruisie posts (and see the first of them is up – I remember that one – it totally prompted me to buy Manhunting). Cruisie is funny writer for me. I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read (3 of them, I think) but I don’t feel a strong compulsion to read them. I got Bet Me a few months ago, read the opening chapter and then left it, even though I kinda know if I really start it, I’ll like it.


  11. @AQ:

    Someday I’d like to track virginity in romance novels because I wonder what is actually being “said” vs. what is being “received” and where writer skill, culture and “social conditioning” vs. genre expectations intersect.

    I agree. I know there is a virginity conference in New Brunswick in June, and I hope more people work on this.


    Cruisie is funny writer for me. I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read (3 of them, I think) but I don’t feel a strong compulsion to read them.

    I actually kind of agree with this. I haven’t read half of her backlist, although I am trying to fix that. She’s not the most emotional writer. Hope you had a great Christmas!


  12. I think I agree with AQ’s thoughts on the acceptability of erotica vs romance still…

    Found the erotica author’s take interesting. I *almost* think there’s less stigma to writing erotica vs. romance at least when I’ve done an informal survey amongst my community.

    I wonder if erotica gets a pass because of the post-modern, urban edginess thing which is fashionable right now and does that mean romance novels are about settling for the status quo?

    Read the FWD blindness in Greek myth article and wondered about our human tendency to essentialism and how this article is a story about meaning being assigned to bodies and individual bodies carrying or illustrating meaning for the broader culture. So people with disabilities are a canvas, just not our own canvas?


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